Thursday, January 17, 2013

6. Daisy Kutter: The Last Train

Daisy Kutter: The Last Train by Kazu Kibuishi

This was an awesome Kickstarter campaign to finally reprint a great story that tells the tale of a cowgirl lured back into action set in a steampunk world. My copy came with a great signed sketch of Daisy on the inside as well as a bookmark and a postcard-sized print since I was a backer of the project which was a major bonus! This was a book that had been under my radar when first released but I was familiar with Kibuishi's work on other titles and I love anything in a steampunk setting so I took a chance and supported a great artist/creator. Completely glad I did! Excellent artwork and even though the story could use a bit more oompf in places it really creates a complete world with fleshed-out characters and is a place I would love to visit again sometime if a new adventure ever awaits Daisy. 4/5 (Excellent)

Friday, January 11, 2013

5. Batman: The Chalice

Batman: The Chalice written by Chuck Dixon and illustrated by John Van Fleet

This, by all accounts, should have been my holy grail of Batman books, Chuck Dixon is one of my favorites especially for his work on G.I. Joe and while I had not been familiar with him before, John Van Fleet's artwork is unique and even amazing at times. The artwork has a sort of flat, 2D, Cel-shaded look that seems like it is almost computer-generated which isn't my usual kind of thing but really works for me here. The only time it fails is when actual 3D/CGI elements are used like some particularly bad and out of place 3D bullets. The writing is odd at best. It is all over the place and just never finds the mark with characters seeming like almost caricature more than anything and Bruce/Batman handled very minimally and in an unskilled way. That was the big flaw because with a slightly better storyline this had the makings of a good, quick, Batman tale that was a little outside of the usual fare. Bummer. I'm glad I own it for the unique artwork but that's about it. 2/5 (Poor)

4. Rust Volume 2: Secrets of the Cell

Rust Volume 2: Secrets of the Cell by Royden Lepp

The first volume of Rust was a major standout for me because it was unexpected and amazing in so many ways that I've been anxiously awaiting the sequel ever since. Cloth-covered foil-embossed hardcover, amazing printing, and paper stock that is so thick you think you've flipped two or three pages at a time which is the kind of quality Archaia is known for. The artwork is deceptive in that while basically monotone and lacking detailed backgrounds it draws you in so immersively into a mood and a feel that you actually enter the world. Rust is short on words but they are effectively used and with just the right amount of room to breathe and take everything in to create your own narrative at times. I felt like I didn't go on as much of a journey with this second volume which was a slight letdown and it finished without a lot of resolution or new development in what is pretty clearly a set up for the third volume advertised on the last page. I think more could have been done with this volume and it wasn't very satisfying but it let me step into the world of Rust again which was like visiting a familiar place after a long time away. 3/5 (Good)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

3. Iron: Or, the War After

Iron: Or, the War After by Shane-Michael Vidaurri

I pre-ordered this graphic novel last April the instant I saw the artwork, and I devoured it the instant it finally shipped a few days ago. The artwork is entirely comprised of watercolor pieces that are simply breathtaking, sadly the story doesn't come close to the same level as the artwork. It is a basic tale of post-wartime rebellion and resistance told with anthropomorphic characters and feels a little rushed at times and a little hokey at others and is not very satisfying on any level. The publisher, Archaia, has a special place in my heart for the outstanding quality and effort they put into their books and this is no exception, the cloth-covered hardcover is a thing of beauty and they never fail to impress me. A good effort with gorgeous artwork and not a lot else though. 3/5 (Good)

2. The Wizard Lord (The Annals of the Chosen, Book 1)

The Wizard Lord (The Annals of the Chosen, Book 1) by Lawrence Watt-Evans

I read a lot of fantasy and many series are comprised of a lot of filler over the duration, The Wizard Lord manages to out-filler even the worst offenders in just a single book! 90% of the book is spent on the most mundane and unimportant things ever as well as walking around from place to place with almost nothing of value happening or coming from it. I actually laughed out loud at the grand finale that the whole book leads up to, which to say was anti-climactic would be grossly overselling it even. Characters constantly restate the obvious, and what little plot there is, when so little happens that you could not possibly forget and the "twist" could only be surprising to someone that has never read even a children's book before. The reason it is all so disappointing is that at its core there is a great kernel of an idea here and easily could have been not just OK, but exceptional. This work falls very short of the mark in almost every possible way. 2/5 (Poor)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

1. ABAKAN 2288: Kallamity's World of Mecha Design Part One

ABAKAN 2288: Kallamity's World of Mecha Design Part One by Luca Zampriolo

This is a book I had hanging around my saved cart for a very long time and for some reason I never pulled the trigger on. Luca's work is nothing short of amazing, so it wasn't that, I just didn't know what to expect from a book that seemed like a bit of a mix of prose, art, how-to, and more. It ended up being a bit of a disjointed mix, just as I had suspected, but it still manages to be very good as a whole. The story/prose part I could do without, but it is serviceable, and I loved the artwork as well as the actual models and some of the process/how-to info was excellent, however some is also sub-par. If you have any interest in modelling, toys, design, mechs, art, sculpture, or any related area then this is definitely worth picking up, there is something for everyone inside. 3/5 (Good)


After a complete disaster last year where my book list got mangled and lost due to a server crash with the website I was using to track it, I've decided to come back to my trusty 52 in 52 blog! I had one of the biggest years ever last year which made it particularly painful to lose. The final tally was 129 books and 328 comics!